Ha, ha, I have Lost Girls and you don't. The first printing sold out the day it hit the stores. Luckily I had it pre-ordered.
OK, how do I review a book of pornography without terminally embarrassing myself and my parents, both of whom (at least according to my IP logs) read this regularly?
Mom and Dad: you can read this review. But I don't want to talk about it, EVER, and I'm not under any circumstances going to lend it to you.
First, the physical object. Beautiful. Absolutely fantastic. I hadn't seen any pics of the cover so I was expecting something all black and serious and not girly and fun. They are magnificently bound and produced volumes. They even smell good.
Artistically: Perfect for the subject matter, impressive design, the perfect marriage of art and words to convey story.
The story: Three women named Alice, Wendy, and Dorothy meet in a hotel in Austria on the eve of the first World War. Do those names ring a bell? Moore and Gebbie give us Alice as an older member of the English aristocracy; Wendy as a middle-aged, middle-class Edwardian housewife; and Dorothy as a windblown farm girl fresh from Kansas. They progress from sexual repression to bawdy smut as the political atmosphere goes from twilight innocence to threatening, stormy skies.
Each woman tells her story - and oh, what stories they are. Alice is first molested, then seduced by a schoolmistress and drawn into a corrupt ring of drug addiction and underage sex. Wendy and her little brothers are introduced to sex by a group of boys they meet in the park (the ring-leader, of course, is named Peter). Dorothy has her encounters with the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man before finally confronting the Wizard himself.
I've seen people comment that this was the dirtiest thing they've ever read, which to me says they haven't been exposed to much anime. The worst things in here are multi-partner sex, some mild bestiality, incest, golden showers, and of course, tons and tons of underage sex.
Moore inserts an ironic commentary, from Monsieur Rougeur, the proprietor of the scandalous hotel, after reading a piece of work that I can only call 'the porn within the porn'. "You see, if this were real, it would be horrible. Children raped by their trusted parents. But they are fictions. They are uncontaminated by effect and consequence. Why, they are almost innocent."
The three women leave the hotel, much as they were cast out of the arena of the erotic in their previous lives. Alice leaves the precious mirror that she's carried with her on all her travels since childhood. "I once thought part of me was stuck inside it, but now. We've rescued her." They've reached some fulfillment. But the hotel is destroyed, and Europe is engulfed in war. Do 'beautiful and imaginative things...blossom, even in wartime'?
It's hard to blossom when you're dead. I think the ending acknowledges that masterfully.